The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has approved Alabama State University as a COVID-19 vaccine administration site.
The announcement came during a university press conference on January 25. In partnership with the Montgomery Housing Authority and ADPH, ASU will be offering vaccines to university-affiliated individuals as well as the local community. Last year, ASU and MHA created free, on-campus drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 testing clinics for residents of Patterson Court, a nearby public housing complex.
In his remarks, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr., ASU's president, spoke optimistically about the impact the vaccine will have in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are excited to be able to continue our partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health in becoming a vaccine administration site,” said Ross. “We will make it available to our campus family as an added weapon in our arsenal in the fight against the spread of COVID-19. We will then give access to the surrounding community. As more of the vaccine is made available to us, we will continue to serve as a site in conjunction with public health officials. Alabama State University will continue to be a beacon of light and hope to this community.”
Dr. Joyce Loyd-Davis, director of ASU's Health Center, also spoke about the university's approach to inoculation. She outlined the campus vaccine distribution plan, noting that the rollout would occur in phases and stressing the importance of considering older citizens who are more susceptible to severe complication from the coronavirus.
“We have developed a disbursement plan that begins with ASU’s health care workers and public safety employees. The vaccine will be available according to the phases highlighted in the distribution plan which includes the rest of the campus and ultimately the local community,” said Lloyd-Davis. “We are most concerned about the residents in under-served communities, particularly the vulnerable populations in high-risk communities to include those above the age of 65. We will work with the Montgomery Housing Authority as we did with providing COVID-19 testing.”
Damon Duncan, executive director of the Montgomery Housing Authority, also weighed in on the announcement and the significance of having the university as a vaccination site.
"The partnership with Alabama State University and the public health department has proven to be a critical partnership and collaboration in terms of ensuring quality of health for the residents that the Montgomery Housing Authority serves,” remarked Duncan. “Often times these residents are the last to be considered for something like this program. We appreciate ASU for making them among the first on the University’s list."
ASU has already received 2,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine and will provide injections based on the guidelines set by the Alabama Department of Health. Currently, the ADPH has only approved vaccinations for health care workers, first responders, and people over 75. According to a press release from the university, members of the ASU Health Center and Department of Public Safety received the first doses of the vaccine immediately after the news conference.